School of Global Studies


Brokered migration for domestic work and construction work in Ghana and Myanmar: examining the relevance of the slavery and trafficking discourse

Chains logoMigrants are often portrayed as victims without agency, their migration through brokers is labelled as trafficking and their working conditions as tantamount to slavery. Children, and especially girls, are constructed by policy makers and development practitioners as incapable of making decisions and assessing migration risks themselves and their migration is almost always described as trafficking if intermediaries are involved.

The research, jointly funded by The British Academy and the Department for International Development (DFID), builds on extensive research on migration into low-skilled occupations in Ghana and Myanmar to understand the infrastructure of brokerage and how migrants view the process. The study will provide much needed insights into the functioning of brokerage and will aid the governments of both countries in identifying points of vulnerability to exploitation so that more effective policies and interventions can be designed in accordance with SDG8. It will yield critical information on the nexus between policy, culture, brokerage and poverty which is needed to understand why brokerage exists and how it impacts on migrants and their families.

Banner photo (Myanmar worker) credit: Remko Tanis